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OpenSSL Security Vulnerability

Last update on April 9, 2014.

News emerged yesterday of a security vulnerability that affected millions of internet websites.

http://arstechnica.com/security/2014/04/critical-crypto-bug-in-openssl-opens-two-thirds-of-the-web-to-eavesdropping/

A fix has been published. The fix has been applied to SupplierSelect servers and relevant TLS certificates have been regenerated. These changes required some server reconfiguration and DNS records have been updated.

It is possible that some browsers will have cached old DNS records and will not be able find SupplierSelect. If so, the fix is to restart the browser.

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Server Maintenance 5th April 2014

Last update on April 5, 2014.

Database maintenance is being performed on servers hosted.supplierselect.com and xantive.supplierselect.com on 5th April 2014. There will be a 30 minute maintenance window between 15:30 and 16:00 UTC

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System Upgrade - Classified Organizations

Last update on April 3, 2014.

An upgrade is being rolled out across SupplierSelect services with significant changes to organization management and respondent registration.

Organization Types

Organizations in SupplierSelect are now classified as one of the following "Types"

  • Respondent
  • Buyer
  • Consultant

There is a single login form which routes users to the appropriate section of the site after authentication.

Background

When we first designed SupplierSelect we imagined a unified system where any organization could act as either a Buyer or Respondent. It soon became clear that this universality made the user interface more complex, so we introduced the "I'm a Respondent / I'm an Evaluator ...

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How To Evaluate RFP Responses

Last update on April 2, 2014.

"Survival of the fittest" is the best known distillation of Darwin's theory of evolution. Although the phrase was coined by someone else (Herbert Spencer), Darwin liked it, and thought it a better summary of his theory than "natural selection". He was concerned that the word "selection" implied some sort of divine agency at work.

One hundred and fifty years later the common usage of these terms has changed. Modern readers are much less likely to assume divine agency in anything. Our understanding of "the fittest" is now also very different. Darwin used the word fit in sense of "this ...

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Web Content Management (WCM) RFP and the Mystery of White Papers

Last update on April 14, 2014.

There's a useful article (white paper) published today on Computer Weekly: " Best Practices for Web Content Management System Selection".

At SupplierSelect we concentrate on building tools that help buyers to make good decisions. Maybe because of that we don't know anything about marketing or sales. In fact, if you're reading this it's a miracle, because we don't get much traffic! "White Papers" have always confused me. At first I thought they represented some bleeding of academic rigor into the world of commerce. I assumed the authors would be learned professors shuffling out of an ivory ...

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Saving Notifications from Spam - Google ignores SPF Records if IP Uppercase

Last update on March 22, 2014.

According to Kaspersky, in 2013 over 70% of emails were spam. One the results of this is that valid emails sent from your own infrastructure risk ending up in users' spam folders.

SupplierSelect sends out plenty of emails for user registration and for notifying of significant RFP events - invitation published, RFP response submitted, deadline reminders etc.. When these emails end up in the Spam folder it causes inconvenience for our users. Worse, because we manage high value RFP transactions, it's essential that we maintain our credibility. Asking users to dig our emails out of their spam folders is far ...

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RFP objectivity a myth? Who cares? Concensus is what counts

Last update on March 21, 2014.

RFPs are supposed to be about transparency, fairness and objectivity. These values are especially important in the following cases:

  1. Public Accountability. Government or other public sector organizations must be able to demonstrate that public money is being is being well spent. If the mayor's brother in law wins a bridge building contract, the mayor needs huge stack of RFP documents to bog down opponents until the next electoral cycle.
  2. Job Security. When responsibility for a big decision lands on someone's desk, the career risks are daunting. A bureaucratic, turgid and mind numbingly dull RFP can be flourished as ...

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Server Maintenance Sunday 16th March

Last update on March 14, 2014.

Upgrades to some of SupplierSelect's infrastructure will be taking place between 12:00 - 14:00 GMT on Sunday 16th March 2014. The following sites will be affected:

  • hosted.supplierselect.com
  • xantive.supplierselect.com
  • plan2do.supplierselect.com

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Transparent eTendering - Publishing Criteria Weightings

Last update on March 14, 2014.

SupplierSelect helps buyers ("contracting authorities") to comply with procurement regulations by providing a number of project settings which change the behaviour of the RFP. Many of these are driven by the European Union's directives on public sector contracting. We've now added a new setting - "Expose Weightings to Respondents".

SupplierSelect enables buyers to define a set of evaluation criteria, structure these into sections and sub-sections, and then assign weightings to any level of the resulting criteria questionnaire. Previously, it was possible for buyers using SupplierSelect to show criteria weightings to respondents by downloading the weightings into a spreadsheet, and ...

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Finding Key Differentiators when Scoring RFP Questions

Last update on March 12, 2014.

When running a big RFP, it's very easy to become lost in the vendor and scoring information that is accumulated. SupplierSelect works to develop new tools to help manage this information. A recently developed report helps to drill down to the questions that most differentiate vendors responses.

A strong RFP should ask enough questions to permit the buyer to identify the best vendor for their requirements. How many questions this is depends on the complexity of the good or service being sourced. Many of SupplierSelect's customers issue RFPs with over 500 questions. Answers from all vendors are scored ...

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